An American Expat Onsen Addict in Japan


Every week, I like to repost someone else’s blog that is particularly interesting and focused on hot springs.  This week, I found this blog written by Greg Goodmacher, an American expat living in Japan.  His blog is about the cultural experiences of life in Japan seen through the eyes of a “hot springs addict”.  There are over 27,000 onsen in Japan, so he’s in the right place to be an addict!

Greg’s most recent post is called “Amazing Snowshoe Trip and Japanese Onsen” and is about snowshoe & hot springs.  It is similar to my own experience in the Gatineau Park & Spa Le Nordik here in Canada, that I wrote about in “Snowshoe & soak”.  The big difference is that he got to visit this cool ice cave near Hokkaido!

Ice Cave in Japan, by Greg Goodmacher

Ice Cave in Japan, by Greg Goodmacher

Follow Greg’s blog and give him a big shout out for sharing his experiences as a Hot Springs Aficionado living in Japan!

Snowshoe & Soak – A Perfect Evening!

Snowshoe & Soak Under the Stars at Le Nordik

Snowshoe & Soak Under the Stars at Le Nordik

We had a good snowfall this weekend, about 8″ of fresh dry powder, and Tuesday was a beautiful clear day so I decided to take advantage of Le Nordik Spa-Nature’s Snowshoeing and Spa under the Stars.

It turned into an absolutely perfect evening!  I arrived at the Gatineau Park around 6 pm to pick up my snowshoes (included with the package).  There were two guided groups of about 10 people each, one in French, one in English.  We set out for an easy hour long snowshoe hike in the darkness lit by our headlamps.  It was a crisp dark evening, about -5, no wind, and a perfectly clear moonless sky.

Snowshoeing in the Gatineau Park

Snowshoeing in the Gatineau Park

Diane, our guide, led us on some packed trails and into some deep untouched powder, showed us animal tracks and talked a lot about animal behaviours in the Park.  I met a new friend, Cécile, who works at Le Nordik (how cool is that job?).  We took group selfies with snowshoes, and ended our hike with pink cheeks and smiles all around.

After we dropped off our snowshoes we headed around the corner to the baths at Le Nordik.  We headed straight for the hottest pool and relaxed and chatted for at least 30 minutes.  Then we headed to the lounge area for drinks and a light supper.  I had a trio of sandwiches and a champagne flute filled with pink bubbly and strawberries that looked so appealing I just asked for “one of those” and forgot to ask the name!  It was a perfect complement, cool, crisp and sweet – just like the evening.

Arriving at Le Nordik Spa-Nature

Arriving at Le Nordik Spa-Nature

We soaked in the large pools, then basked in the largest sauna until it was almost closing time.  We capped off the evening in the Infinity pool that overlooks the cities, naming the stars and trying to count the Pleiades. We talked about how soaks contribute to mental health, a balanced life and wellness.  All too soon the staff were making rounds for the last call.  We had closed the bar and closed the baths – it was a truly excellent evening of “snowshoeing under the stars”.

A Magical Atmosphere

A Magical Atmosphere

Every Tuesday evening until March 10th is a snowshoe, soak and stars evening at Le Nordik, so it’s easy to book your own perfect Canadian winter adventure or add an evening in this magical atmosphere to your work week.  Just click here to head for the trails and the baths!